She is an "A" student and I gave her a problem I knew she would have to struggle with. Why? One, I believe struggling with temporary "failure" is critical to becoming permanently successful.
Two, having the courage to struggle and face possible "defeat" in front of others gives others the courage to do the same.
Three, I love and believe in my daughter with all my heart, and teach my students as if they were my own, loving and believing in them with all my heart......and right now the world needs a lot of heart.....miles and miles of heart)
A new study out of London reports that the higher level thinking skills of 14 year-olds are now on par with that of 12 year-olds in 1976. (ABC News)
In effect, our children are two years dumber than they were two decades ago.
The reason given is that our schools are teaching to the test. So over the same time period, while state and national test scores have increased, the ability of our children to think has decreased.
Colleges are now placing less-emphasis on these scores as a basis for acceptance because they measure more a student's ability to memorize information than being able to use it to think at high levels and solve real problems.
And once again, the solution of the quick fix has only been successful in making things worse.
Instead of taking care of the consumer many businesses take advantage of them, the real-estate crisis being a prime example, and all of us suffer as the economy goes south.
Instead of working out to lose weight and developing a vast store of new inner discipline and strength we could use for future challenges and growth, we get liposuction and others surgeries which make us look for other quick-fixes for future challenges.
Instead of developing talents and becoming more in order to get more, we buy more lottery tickets hoping to get more by getting lucky. Yet because we didn't become the type of person who could earn the winnings, 90% of us who win the lottery lose our new wealth because we don't know how to keep it......and we find ourselves more in debt than before "winning" just a few years later.
Instead of becoming our own source of power and confidence, we look to other people and things to tell us we're acceptable and worth something, teaching our children to do the same.
Instead of struggling through the process of learning to see our own inner beauty, we get a face and body lift hoping the outside world will at least see our manufactured outer beauty, and then we'll feel good about ourselves.
Instead of being patient with our children and helping them develop the ability to focus, we put our children on pills to "help" them do it. Why? Because as adults we have chosen to put ourselves on pills of some kind instead of developing the inner strength to have patience with ourselves and, as a bye-product, the ability to help others do it too.
I know I'm not trying to come off as preachy. I also know that I deserve the criticism I receive for risking my health and job by pushing my own limits past the danger point time and again. But I look at what has happened to those around me as a result.
And the world is at risk more than ever, and needs real solutions real fast. Not living fully is not having lived at all. Focusing on keeping your job instead of fully doing your job is not doing it at all......All or nothing.
I notice that when I choose to focus on the higher things, the things that really matter, that's when the things that really matter tend to change for the better.
Things that can't be done ARE done. What "could be" becomes "WHAT IS". Where I used to fail I start succeeding, and where others around me used to fail they start succeeding.
Students who used to tell me they would come find me when they're older and kill me (because I'm making them face their unpleasant reality), now instead focus on making me help them change. Instead of continuing to fail test-after-test, now are open to learning why and beginning to double their scores and earning C's, B's and A's in the process.
Those who used to "succeed" on surface-knowledge tests now are succeeding at higher-level thinking and gaining meaningful knowledge and real-life abilities in the process......All of them hopefully for a lifetime, and all of them hopefully changing the world for the better in the process.
"In the process".....In the process of BECOMING MORE, not less.
From my experience and observation, the quick fix in most cases is no fix at all.
As our world is finally being forced to face increasing problems of economy, ecology, education, terrorism, etc. at the critical level, we are increasingly as a whole developing ourselves into quick fixers turning the current problems into critical crises, while dumbing down the very ones that will be asked to fix what we create.
The "monster needs to be stopped while it's little". Real, healthy education of our young by parents and teachers alike is critical in doing this. But how do we teach what we don't know how to do?
We take on a new role. We take on the role of hero. This is no time for false humility or feelings of unworthiness.
Since the monster of the quick-fix hasn't been stopped in our own lives and now has become big in adults all over the world.....We need to become the heroes of our own lives, to become more than we ever have been so far, growing bigger than and defeating this monster inside of us.
We do this, and we teach our children how to do this.
Our children learn how to do this, and they learn how to create more solutions to more problems instead of creating more and bigger problems needing more and bigger solutions.
And the world does change for the better.....in this process.
Do I wake up
more old and gray?
Or do I wake up
to find a way?
My body has risen,
but has my soul?
My spirit is awakened,
and I feel myself
What an incredible day!
For I have AWAKENED
on the dawn of this great day!
~ From one fully awakened soul to another,
Embrace today and give it a big kiss!
October 27, 2008